First off, I want to thank my
family, the coaching staff, those closest to me and have been there for me to
this point through the decision-making process. It's been tough. Obviously, I'm really close to the whole
I've decided to move forward and put myself in the 2007 NBA Draft. I think the coaching staff believes in me. I think I'm ready. It's going to give me a lot of opportunities to give back to my community. It will put me, obviously, in a good financial pocket, but also I felt like it was time. It was a hard decision, but the coaching staff has been great. I had a lot of support from them, Coach O (Olson), Coach Ros (Rosborough), Miles (Simon), Josh (Pastner), everyone and the players. That's kind of where I'm at right now.
Associate Head Coach Jim Rosborough
The thing that is tough in a situation like this is that you recruit young men and you get them into the program and you think they are going to be with you four years and you'll see a great change. I think speaking for the staff and speaking for myself, I've really enjoyed my time with Marcus. Thoroughly, we wish him well. Clearly, we wish him well. Clearly, he's going to do well. He's been an extremely hard worker and a very, very good young man in the program. He's in the gym all of the time working on his game. I think he's really had some great, great moments for us for two years.
As I say, you get to know young men
and you get involved with them, and to have that time cut short by a couple
years is always difficult. When
Mike (Bibby) left, Richard (
I think in speaking for the staff, we wish Marcus well. He will do well because he's a smart young man. He's very, very hungry for this next step. I think sometimes people fail to realize what the motivation is – the deep, deep, deep motivation that goes into a situation like this. I know that Marcus is very hungry for the success that he will have. We wish him well. He will do well. He's been a great tribute here to his mother and family, to our basketball program and the university.
Marcus, where do you think you will be taken in the draft?
Obviously, I couldn't tell you exactly where. A lot of it depends on my workouts individually for teams. That's why I'm in the gym twice a day every day trying to make sure to the right situation and go as high as possible.
Last year, you said that if you were going to, you would go. Is that still true?
Yes, that's what I'm going to do.
Are you going to drop out of school or stay through the semester?
That's a question a lot of people
want answered. No, I'm not going to
drop out of school. I've been able
to communicate with my teachers and they've been able to work with me to do
on-line things so I can finish out school and do training in whatever location I
want to. I probably will need to
fly back to
Rosborough: It is important to know that Marcus has done well in school. As you know we are not at liberty to discuss that, but he has done well in school. He's paid attention to the details there and he done a good job for us for the two years. We anticipate that he'll finish that up just like the other thing that he's done here and he's done them very well.
When did you know that this was the decision that you wanted to make?
To be honest, after the season was
over I did a lot of thinking. I sat
down with family or talked to them over the phone at least as often as
possible. A lot of people may have
thought throughout the year that it was on my mind, but not at all. I came back with the intention of being
After the season ended, did you ever seriously consider staying?
Obviously, it crossed though my mind
because of how it ended. You never
want to end a career in the situation that we did. Losing in the first round is something
that was really painful for me.
Obviously, there is a lot of talent coming into the
What do you want to work on most between now and the draft?
Getting physically ready. Being in shape and getting stronger. Working on extending the range. The NBA three point line is a little bit farther than the college line. And finishing around the bucket with contact is something that is going to be crucial to me during workouts.
Are you going to workout in
I don't know yet. That depends on the agent of choice. I might try a few different things.
Have you picked an agent yet?
No, I'm still in the interview process right now.
How challenging do you think it will be to finish the schoolwork?
At some point, making the balance or
trying to find the time...I don't want it weighted on my memory that
How much did your draft projections weigh into your decision?
I wanted to make sure I was going to be in the first round. That was a big key for me. As long as I continue to work hard, that's going to be a reality for me. That was pretty key. If I can go in with a team where I have a chance to play, that's going to be important. I'm blessed to be in this situation and I thank God every day for it.
Have you received those assurances?
I haven't talked to a team or anything. The range is in the first round, so that's what I know.
What will you take from the experience? What did you enjoy?
I think college is great. It's a great experience, especially here
It's been great. I've done a lot of maturing here. My game has grown by leaps and bounds. If I would have asked myself when I was a senior in high school two years down the line would I be talking about going to the NBA, I probably wouldn't say that. I count my blessings that it all worked out for the best.
Do you anticipate this being a fairly easy transition?
I don't think so. Obviously, the players get a lot better. As long as you work hard and come in with an open mind, like a sponge, and soak up what the coaching staff gives you, I think the transition will be easier. But I don't think it will be easy.
Have you talked to other players who have done this, like Gilbert, Mike, etc?
I haven't talked to anybody from Arizona, but I know people who have made the leap early, like Jamal Crawford (played 1999-2000 at Michigan) and people like that, and people that have been though the experience, like Hassan (Adams) and (Washington's) Brandon Roy. It's hard work and the workouts are tough, so I'm just trying to get in the best shape of my life to prepare for the rigors of the NBA.
Was this decision any tougher than last year?
I feel like it was just as tough. There is always a little bit more I wanted to accomplish here. I wish we could have gotten to the Final Four. That's always been a dream of mine and it's sad for me to leave without experiencing it. It wasn't just easy. It's not like right after the buzzer against Purdue I knew. I had to do some thinking, but I felt like I was at a point as an individual I felt like I was ready.
What were Coach Olson's final words of advice?
He wished me the best. He's been great though this. I went into the office and he said, ‘I
think you are ready. You need to work on continuous intensity, being more
physical and aggressive will be huge.
People have been saying good things.' Obviously,
What position do you see yourself playing next year?
I will play anywhere...most likely a three spot, maybe some two. Hopefully, I'll advertise myself as a little point forward who can set up the offense. Where ever I'm put at I'll be happy as long as I'm playing ball.
You have to think you are one of 60 people that get to experience that every year out of the millions of young kids, so I don't think you can be too greedy in that situation at all.